(Hartford: American Publishing Company, 1870). 226 x 149 mm. (9 x 5 3/4").  pp. of sample text (irregularly paginated),  leaves of subscription forms (mostly blank).
Publisher's black cloth, upper cover with gilt vignette title, lower cover with American Publishing Company device in blind, sample cloth and sheepskin binding options affixed to pastedowns. Housed in a fine later black niger morocco clamshell box With 33 illustrations, comprised of 16 engraved plates with tissue guards, 17 text engravings. Foldout advertisement (with five-inch closed tear) for the publisher's "Family Bible" bound in at rear. Spine head and tail with minor chips, corners somewhat worn, a dozen small blisters in the cloth covering the upper board, but still A SURPRISINGLY WELL-PRESERVED COPY of a category of book almost always encountered in various states of wreckage, this copy entirely clean, completely solid, and with few signs of use in general.
Providing a pre-publication sample of content and binding versions for Twain's classic steamship voyage to Europe and the Middle East, this is a salesman's prospectus that time has treated with unusual kindness. The author's first commercial success, the book (in its full-blooded form) is replete with insightful and humorous commentary. As was the custom with many books issued by The American Publishing Company, this copy was sold, not through bookstores, but rather by subscription, using a national network of sales representatives. From town to town they tramped, from city to city they canvassed, door-to-door salesmen who carried with them abridged samples--like the present item--of the books they had for sale. This example contains specimen text, illustrations, binding options and prices, testimonials, reviews, advertisements, and subscription forms. Our anonymous salesman apparently had a brief career, with only two orders entered on the bound-in subscription form: M. Ballou of Princeton, Illinois, ordered a copy in Library Leather with Sprinkled Edge for $4, and C. L. Smith of Princeton ordered one in fine cloth with gilt edge for the same price. Since Princeton, Illinois, is not a large town, and since Ballou is not a terribly common name, it is certainly possible that the first person to succumb to the temptation of the present salesman's dummy was Martin Ballou, the prominent jurist of that name who was born in Halifax, Vermont, in 1812. Ballou attended Harvard, was admitted to the bar in his home state in 1839, and then moved to Princeton, where he was elected Judge of the Circuit Court in 1857, became one of the most well-respected members of his profession in the region, and lived to the end of the century. With the present special object, our salesman's failure turns out to be our own success, for it allowed this dummy (the book, not the salesman) to retire gracefully prior to decrepitude. (ST12852)
Add to Cart Price: $3,900.00
PJP Catalog: NY18BF.038